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DVD Review

DVD cover

Ghost Hunt
Series 1 - Part 1


Starring (voice): Kaori Nazuka, Yuuki Tai, Ken Narita and Kenji Hamada
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Available 04 May 2009

Seventeen year old Mai Taniyama spends her time swapping ghost stories with her friends. This harmless pastime takes on a new meaning when she is introduced to Naru Shibuya, who has been asked by the school's principle to check out a haunted school building. Through the investigation Mai meets some of the other operatives, including a spirit medium, a shrine maiden, a young exorcist and a monk. Following her first adventure she is formally asked to join the Shibuya Psychic Research team...

Ghost Hunt (2006) is a supernatural anime based on a series of light novels by Fuyumi Ono and the subsequent manga written by Shiho Inada. The anime was directed by Rei Mano.

When I first got the discs I was thinking: "Oh no another Scooby Doo rip-off." Well I couldn’t have been more wrong. The stories take their time with a single story usually spread across three episodes. Of course because of the type of show it is, something has to go bump in the night for the team to investigate, but once the initial set up has been put in motion the actual hauntings are handled in a way more reminiscent of The X-Files than Scooby Doo.

The first disc contains the first two and a bit stories. The show opens with Evil Spirits All Over, a three-part story which sets up the characters and the overall reason for the show. The story is intelligently handled, creating tension without having to resort to improbable spirits, backed up with a suitably creepy score. The next three part story, The Doll House, and a woman asks the team to look into strange things happening in her house. The team quickly discover that a poltergeist is using a doll, Minnie, to attack the family. Worse still they discover that the house has an unpleasant history, lots of children who have lived in the house have all died when they were eight.

The first part of the third story, The After School Hexer, a four-parter, starts on disc one and is carried over to disc two. This time the team are asked to investigate troubling phenomena at the Yuasa High School, but the team can find no evidence of spiritual activity. Could it be one of the students cursing her school mates? It is another cracking story which does not feel over long as a four parter. Once more the story is intelligently handled with some real points of peril for the main principles

This is followed by the discs only stand alone story ‘Ghost in the Park’ and Masako asks Naru to investigate a strange case. It would seem that for the last six months lovers have been covered in water when they are in the park. The team discovers that it is the spirit of a woman whose boyfriend cheated on her. They persuade the spirit to depart but not until they get the boyfriend to apologise to the dead woman.

The last story is a two-parter, Silent Christmas. The team are brought another strange case, children are being possessed by the spirit of a child who went missing during a game of hide and seek, and the team must track down the ghost and persuade it to move into the afterlife.

Audio is offered in a clean and dynamic English or Japanese stereo, with optional English subtitles. Disc one has no extras but disc two has some manga pages, character case files, ghost sightings (which is a gallery of the apparitions encountered in the stories) and trailers for Black Blood Brothers, Jyu-oh-Sei and Xxxholic.

So what's not to like about this series? It boasts good scripts, intelligent stories and a pretty good level of animation from the J. C Staff Studio.


Charles Packer

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